Actress and singer Annelise Cepero chatted about her new film “Holiday Harmony,” which is set to premiere on November 24th on HBO Max.
In “Holiday Harmony,” she plays the role of Gail opposite Jeremy Sumpter as Jeremy. “There’s so much I love about Gail! Her heart. She’s got a big heart, and she wears it on her sleeve. She’s got this natural ability to uplift people. Her passion. She’s a passionate person in many ways, she’s strong-minded, and she’s got this passion for music and wants to share that with the world. Gails resilience really inspires me. She’s a woman who has grown up without a family, without consistency or stability, she’s felt mostly alone her entire life and has had to rely on herself. And yet through all that she’s somehow managed to come out on the other side of things with this determination to create the life she’s always dreamed of for herself, but also with a positive spirit and outlook.
“Making this movie was one of the greatest experiences,” she said. “We hit the jackpot by having a director like Shaun Paul Piccinino. He has a way of making you feel so seen and important. He believed in me and in our movie so much. He was always so encouraging and positive. Im lucky to call Shaun my director and my friend. It’s so amazing to witness a Director be so excited on set every single day. It’s clear he loves what he does. Truly, Shaun was like a kid in a candy store and that made everybody else on set so much more excited and ready to work. He built such a safe and creative environment for us to play in.”
She had great words about working with Jeremy Sumpter as her male lead. “Jeremy was not only the most amazing scene partner but also an amazing friend and confidant off the screen. We had a lot of fun and we had a lot of trust. He was so present and open when working on the scenes together and that allowed us to play around and experiment. That was really freeing to me. Jeremy was always the guy on set who wanted everyone to feel good and just have a good time! I am really grateful to have worked on this with him,” she exclaimed.
Cepero also complimented Brooke Shields for being a part of this project. “I’ve always had great admiration for Brooke and what a dream it was to meet and work with her! I learned so much from not only watching her work but also from how she treats people. She is so kind to others and she truly cares, and I felt very taken care of by her. Brooke is a well of knowledge and advice and has given me so many words of wisdom. The ones that stuck with me are simple yet so important- speak up for yourself, be kind, and speak from the heart.”
On being an actress in the digital age, Cepero said, “In this digital age for acting I feel that there are more opportunities because of the streaming services. There are constantly new projects going on, which is a great thing! I definitely have mixed feelings about social media but I do believe it has provided more space for creativity, for sharing your passion, and for connecting with other people.
She opened up about “West Side Story.” “It was an epic experience to be a part of,” she said. “It was a dream come true for me being that I grew up watching the movie and loving the musical. Being that I am of Puerto Rican culture this is a story that hits close to home. I had a wonderful time learning from some of the best of the best, including of course Mr. Steven Spielberg himself. It’s a gorgeous and important film and I pinch myself every day to have been a part of that history.”
Regarding her dream acting partners, she revealed, “There are many actors who I look up to, and would do anything to be alongside them in a project. Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Denzel Washington, Florence Pugh, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh. Just to name a few! All of these actors are so versatile and have given such profound and inspiring performances.”
When asked about her definition of the word success, she said, “I think about this often. The meaning of success to me will always be evolving. But for now, success to me means that I’m doing what I love and I’m proud of the work that I’m doing, and along the way, I can inspire someone.”
Cepero concluded about “Holiday Harmony, “Holiday movies are meant to make people feel something and bring people joy. Our movie has something for everybody and it’s got everything you’d want a holiday film to have. It’s got heartwarming moments, laughter, fun, love, Christmas magic, and music! Music plays a major part in our story, and we have a few classic songs that the audience will know and love, but we also have a few beautiful original songs that we are excited to share. I hope that Holiday Harmony brings joy and love into people’s homes, and that the message of following your voice and your heart shines through.”
To learn more about Annelise Cepero, follow her on Instagram.